Saturday, 21 September, 2019

Iran's defence minister says Britain's seizure of oil tanker was threatening act

Iran’s defence minister says Britain’s seizure of oil tanker was threatening act UK's seizure of Iranian oil tanker causes tension
Deanna Wagner | 11 July, 2019, 21:36

Is this a case of "unintended consequences" for the US-engineered July 4th Iran tanker seizure?

Tensions greatly rose after UK Marines seized a tanker suspected to be carrying Iranian crude to Syria, violating European Union sanctions, Kallanish Energy learns.

Britain's seizing of an Iranian oil tanker last week was a threatening act that will not be tolerated, Iran's Defence Minister Amir Hatami said today in a speech broadcast live on state television.

After the incident Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran's foreign minister, said the UK's action had set "a risky precedent and must end now".

"This is an incorrect and wrong action, an action similar to maritime robbery. certainly these kind of robberies will not be tolerated", Brigadier-General Hatami said.

Speaking to reporters in Tehran on Sunday, Iran's deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi said: "The tanker was carrying Iran's oil".

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There was no immediate reaction to the tanker's detention from Syria, which has suffered severe fuel shortages as a result of the civil war and Western sanctions that have crippled the country's oil industry, once the source of 20 per cent of government revenues. The target was somewhere else.

The government of Gibraltar said in a statement Monday that the tanker was "well inside" British Gibraltar Territorial Waters when it was boarded, having "previously exited the global waters of the Straits of Gibraltar".

He added that there was no law allowing authorities in Gibraltar to stop the tanker and called it "piracy".

Tehran has been in diplomatic contact with United Kingdom and the British ambassador has visited the Iranian foreign ministry twice since the arrest of the tanker Grace 1 at Gibraltar.

The incident occurred amid heightened tensions over Iran's unravelling 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, which the USA withdrew from past year. And EU as a principle doesn't impose its sanctions on others.

The threats, made by Tehran's nuclear agency spokesman, would go far beyond the small steps Iran has taken in the past week to nudge stocks of fissile material just beyond limits set out in the pact.